Asked on Dec 04, 2016

How to remove 3 brick shelves above the fireplace

by Evan
I have a fireplace with 3 shelves that stick out. We plan on mounting our tv above the gas fireplace, but in order to do this we need to remove the 3 built in brick shelves. I don't really want to pay a ton to get these removed, so I am wondering if I can maybe knock them out or cut them flush with the other bricks? Any responses will help. Thank you
  11 answers
  • William William on Dec 04, 2016

    Cutting with an angle grinder and a masonry blade would give you a clean cut, but is very dusty, dirty, messy job for indoors.You can use a hammer and knock it out, but you may be left with rough edges. You can use a drill with a masonry drill bit and drill holes in the mortar around the brick and gently hammer the brick to break the mortar. Or use a chisel (not wood) and a hammer. Slowly score a line around the brick even with the surrounding bricks with the chisel. It will take a few passes around the brick till the scoring breaks through the brick. Masons use this concept to break bricks to the size they need. PLEASE, wear gloves and eye protection. Personally, I would go with scoring the brick. Three or four passes around the brick, barely any dust, dirt, and debri.

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    • William William on Dec 06, 2016

      Thank you! I was in HVAC for 13+ years until my back gave out lifting a 21' length of 2 1/2" pipe by myself. Turned the wrong way and fell to my knees. I feel for you!

  • John Stubblefield John Stubblefield on Dec 04, 2016

    Hey Evan,

    If you want to retain the shelves so that you can restore then at a later date, you will need either a hammer drill and an extra long masonry bit slightly smaller in diameter than the width of the mortar between the bricks, or a hammer and star drill, again, slightly smaller than the width of the mortar between the bricks. You can drill a series of holes, as close together as you can, along the two sides and either the top or bottom. You will then need to clear most of the remaining mortar with a chisel or star drill. Once you've gotten it pretty well cleaned up, you can tap the shelf firmly with a mallet or dead blow hammer toward the long side without mortar. It should loosen fairly easily with three sides clean.

    If you don't want to retain the shelves, you can score the edge pretty deeply all the way around near the mortar, similar to what the other bricks look like, with a Dremel and cut-off wheel made for stone. Wear safely glasses, and a dust mask would be a good idea as well. Once you have it scored, you should be able to break the shelf off with a heavy hammer. The only thing is, you really can't control the break, and it may break with the stone being convex like the others, or it may crack with a concave face. It's a crap shoot.

    Good luck with your project!


    • See 1 previous
    • Din8279286 Din8279286 on Dec 09, 2016

      Evan, don't forget that you are going to have to drill thru the brick to studs to mount the tv bracket. This will permanently mar the brick surface.

  • Lori heagney Lori heagney on Dec 04, 2016

    We just removed brick corbels that held up a wood mantle. Since we covered the fireplace with shiplap it didn't matter how the brick looked after they were removed. Our contractor used a chisel to remove them a little bit at a time.

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  • Sharon Kettner Sharon Kettner on Dec 05, 2016

    If you are using the fireplace then this is nowhere for your TV. Heat rises and this could ruin your TV.

    • Lori heagney Lori heagney on Dec 10, 2016

      We added a mantle and stone surround so the tv will be fine. The fireplace is only used a few times a year.

  • Barbara Rigot Barbara Rigot on Dec 06, 2016

    I agree with the woman's comment about not using the fireplace as a location for a TV. Ergonomically you should sit with your TV at eye level. Unless your viewing chairs are far away from the TV, you will have to sit with your head raised. Have had to do this at other people's homes and have come away with a sore neck. I encourage you to rethink this location for your TV.

  • Shawna Bailey Shawna Bailey on Dec 07, 2016

    I was going to recommend using a dremel to score it too.

    I'm super curious to see how it turned out.

    Please post a link to your project here so we can see it?

    • Evan Evan on Dec 07, 2016

      I will, I can only hope it turns out right lol. I will be doing this on Friday

  • Linda Broer Reagan Linda Broer Reagan on Dec 13, 2016

    If you are going to cover the spaces where the shelves were, it won't matter what it looks like so just carefully chisel them out and fill them in with whatever the hardware people recommend.

  • Betsy Betsy on Nov 24, 2023

    OP Evan, how did this project from 7 years ago turn out? I have the same situation and curious how yours turned out. Any advice or regrets?

    • Rachel Smith Rachel Smith on Nov 25, 2023

      Betsy, I'm curious too. Came here bc we just bought a house with this same situation and I want them removed.

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  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Nov 26, 2023

    Knock them out using a Club hammer. Messy but quick!

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 03, 2024

    Hi Evan, yes you can actually just cut these off even with the wall.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Jan 03, 2024

    William's advice of scoring around the bricks with a chisel is perfect.